Saturday, 30 June 2012

One in a Million

For a short period at the tail end of the 70s, perhaps as a backlash to the riot of punk and new wave, the British charts were plagued by a spate of hits performed by children’s choirs, and today’s slice of aural vomit illustrates the hideousness of these ghastly kiddie singalongs perfectly. My Mum is One in a Million was a number 27 hit for the Children of Tansley School in April 1981 and followed hot on the heels of another revolting set of brats the St Winifrid’s School Choir – who had the 1980 Christmas number one with the equally vile There’s No-one Quite Like Grandma.

Much of the blame for these awful records must lie with Brian & Michael, the pop duo best known for their 1978 number one hit Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs which, incidentally, also featured the St Winifrid’s School Choir on backing vocals. The pair went on to write and produce the hit The Sparrow for yet another kiddie choir (The Ramblers) in 1979 and It's 'Orrible Being in Love when You're Eight and a Half, a number 13 hit for Claire and Friends in 1986. My Mum is One in a Million was written by Gordon Lorenz, who also penned the equally horrible b-side have You Read the Story: a vile ditty about the birth of Jesus. Lorenz, who was one of the most prolific record producers in Britain producing over 800 albums (believed to be a world record), was also the author of There’s No-one Quite Like Grandma…’s all a bit incestuous, isn’t it?

Thankfully this musical aberration seems to have run its course; the Tansley kids follow up - Our Family/We’re Going to a Birthday Party - sank without a trace as did their album (also called Our Family) and they were quickly sent back to Derbyshire by EMI. It’s been a fair while since the UK charts last saw a kiddie hit. Let’s hope it stays that way.



  1. 7/1/12 wrote:
    "Matchstick Men & Matchstick Cats and Dogs" also got a cover version over here in the US and Canada as The Canadian/Irish pub band The Irish Rovers covered the song of Brian & Michael's in 1980 for CBS/Epic Records. The group wasn't billed as The "Irish" Rovers on that record, they were billed as just "The Rovers",as a publicity move from being an old-timey folk/pub band to a then-contemporary pop/country/folk band. Their biggest hit of that time period was a cover of Tom Paxton's drunken ode "Wasn't That A Party", and the "Matchstick" song appeared on the resulting album that followed. The Rovers do a nice version of it compared to Brian & Michael's version (there's no cloying children's choir responding in the background). As far as I know it, no covers of the "Grandmother" song or the "My Mum Is One In A Million" tune exsists in either the US or Canada.

  2. It`s soo sweet, how dare you ??
    Ok, best parts of this piece for me are the occasional skippings...
    Time for Heintje, don`t you think ?
    I love your writing !!


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